I have to confess it's been a long time since I thought much about my Ouya, the Android-powered gaming micro-console that got its start on Kickstarter a few years back. I was a backer, but my Ouya wound up in the closet a few months after I got it. The competition for my limited HDMI ports is brutal.
But suddenly Ouya is back in the news. The company is still working to get its platform out there in front of as many gamers as possible. Let's breeze through these three new stories.
First up, there's an odd partnership happening between Ouya and LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project (we talked about this project a few weeks ago). Ouya has put together a limited edition blue Ouya console that is being offered as a gift for a limited $250 Reading Rainbow pledge level. If that's not enough to entice you, Burton will hand-sign each of the consoles (there's a cap of 500 of these $250 pledges). You can also get an unsigned limited edition console for an add-on pledge of $175.
If you're wondering what the connection is here, there's a Reading Rainbow stretch goal of $5 million that adds support for Android, game consoles (including the Ouya) and set-top boxes (as I'm writing this post the project is right at the cusp of $5 million and will probably be over by the time you read it). Also Ouya will donate a console to each of the schools covered by the $5000 "Adopt a School" pledge level (and you can donate one to a classroom of your choice for a $150 add-on pledge).
OK moving on from Reading Rainbow, Ouya has been talking about a new "Ouya Everywhere" initiative for a few months, and now we're seeing the first fruits of that effort. If you skipped the $100 Ouya in favor of the $200 Mad Catz's MOJO console, as of today you've got both! There's now an Ouya app for the MOJO that can run Ouya games. That's a nice start for Ouya Everywhere but for the service to really take off Ouya needs to get it on something a little more mainstream. Still, good news for MOJO owners I guess.
Last up, Ouya is experimenting with a new way to monetize games. They're offering (for a limited time) a $59.99 deal that gives you a year's access to all the games on Ouya. It works in the strange way Amazon's Music Prime works: you still have to buy your games but they'll all be priced at $0.
Engadget has more on this deal, including some pretty significant caveats and questions. Add-on content like DLC or cash shop items in Free-to-Play games seem to not be covered, for example. I guess if you're a heavy Ouya user, $5/month for access to the entire Ouya library is a pretty good deal.
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